School Start Times – Update

Many thanks to the many parents and teachers who shared their thoughts, insights, and concerns about the proposed changes to the school start times at Tuesday’s PTA meeting. Below is an update for those of you who would like additional information or who could not attend the meeting.

Lee is slated to have a start time of 7:40 a.m. for the 2013-14 school year, along with six other elementary schools and the middle schools (the chart showing proposed start times is attached below). This reflects the district’s decision to provide bussing to all Lee students (both neighborhood students and special permission/lottery students).

Today Mrs. Burger sent the following list of the concerns that were raised at Tuesday’s meeting to Dr. Belcher and Dr. Stiepleman.

1. Classes at the University start at 8:00. With the apartments being built near Lee – this will be an awful time for parents, students, and busses to have to drop off. This will impact travel and safety.

2. Extremely early, dark, not safe

3. Activities such as dance classes etc. will still have to wait for all elementary schools to be dismissed

4. Curious as to the district cost and the impact – what is the positive effect?

5. Decision making driven by transportation vs what is best for students

6. Lee has a drumming program with Dr. Gaines at MU. She will not be able to continue her before school program if starting at this time.

7. Will this impact funding since there will, more than likely, be an increase in tardies and absences?

8. Impact on Walking School Bus and those who ride bikes

9. Impact on students’ sleep

10. If bussing is provided, how many will use it?

The following concerns were also raised at the meeting (but I’m not sure if these were included in the list above):

-Equity concerns about the selected elementary starting at an earlier time than the majority of other elementary schools

-Impact of the 7:40 start time on Lee’s ability to draw a diverse population of lottery/special permission families (would we lose lottery/special permission enrollment)

If you would like to voice concerns, support, etc. regarding the proposed start times or transportation changes, the best bet would be to contact Board of Education Members prior to Monday’s meeting. Here is a link to their contact information:

I should also note that it doesn’t look likely that parents will have a opportunity to speak about school start times during the Public Comment portion of the meeting on Monday. I don’t know this definitively, but the posted agenda states:

During the portion of the Board agenda designated for "Public Comment," members of the public may address school-related matters which are not specifically related to agenda items.

So it seems like any comments would need to be submitted prior to the meeting time because "Consideration of Student Transportation System" is an agenda item.

Many thanks for all of the thought and consideration that so many of you have devoted to these proposed changes!

Amy Sarver